Mary Baldwin Physical Therapy Program Meets Key Benchmark

news_CAPTEThe Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences reached a crucial benchmark this week in pursuit of full accreditation by the internationally recognized Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education (CAPTE), allowing students to be accepted into Mary Baldwin’s Doctor of Physical Therapy program.

“The accreditation process is exceptionally rigorous, and for good reason,” said Linda Seestedt-Stanford, founding vice president of the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences. “Accreditation protects the public and ensures that our students demonstrate the required skills and competencies for entry-level physical therapy practice.”

Classes in physical therapy (PT) and occupational therapy (OT) are slated to begin in June 2014. Earning “candidate for accreditation” status from CAPTE indicates that Murphy Deming leaders have completed a self-study, an initial site visit, and a review by members of the CAPTE board, Stanford said. A similar process is underway to receive accreditation for Murphy Deming’s Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD) program.

Mary Baldwin has steadily received applications for its PT and OT programs since July, and each program will accept approximately 30 students into its inaugural class. Some prospective students have had the opportunity to meet directors and faculty from the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences at graduate school fairs, open houses, and information sessions.

“We are impressed by the caliber and number of applicants coming in from around the region, state, and nation, and we are eager to admit them into our program,” said Lisa Shoaf, physical therapy program director. “It is exciting to think about welcoming those first students who will experience our innovative curriculum with a focus on interprofessional education that will set us apart in the field.”

In the meantime, construction is progressing on Murphy Deming’s initial three-story, 57,000-square-foot building on the site off Goose Creek Road in Fishersville. Instructional technology for the state-of-the-art facility has also been finalized, including simulation labs, lecture capture capability, videoconferencing, and projection of multiple images on large flat-screen monitors in classrooms. In addition, MDCHS faculty and staff have connected with key community partners through the Augusta Community Forum and the Mary Baldwin University service learning network to develop ongoing projects.

A $15 million gift from longtime Mary Baldwin benefactor Bertie Murphy Deming Smith ’46 launched the development of the college of health sciences and jump started construction. In addition to the DPT and OTD, a Master of Science in Physician Assistant Studies is also planned to open in 2015.

Find out more about the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences.